To main content

New Possibilities – Next Generation Robotic Systems for Inspection and Maintenance Operations


This paper presents a selection of novel robotic systems with the potential of significantly improving environment, health, and safety (EHS) issues during inspection and maintenance (I&M) and fire fighting operations, in addition to offering new possibilities and increased quality and efficiency of such operations. The desired range of applications for the robots targets operations which are dirty, dull, distant and dangerous (4D). The robotic systems considered in this paper have been developed by the Norwegian research organization SINTEF. The paper gives an overview of concepts and implementations of these robotic systems and considers their possibilities, limitations, and benefits. In particular, four robotic systems will be presented, each with its targeted I&M application area. First, we present a concept and a prototype for a slim robotic arm custom designed to operate inside heat exchangers. The task of the arm is to inspect thousands of small pipes one by one in order to look for possible weaknesses and also to flush them clean. Today, this is a labour-intensive and repetitive operation performed manually. Second, a snake-like mobile robot energized by high-pressure water is presented. This robot is intended for fire-fighting in environments less accessible to human fire-fighters, and is currently the biggest and strongest mobile snake robot in the world. The robot is essentially a fire hose capable of moving by itself. This system is also very relevant for maintenance operations where cleaning with high-pressure water in confined areas is necessary. Third, a novel mechanism in the form of a highly-articulated wheeled mobile robot is presented for I&M in ventilation systems, sewer systems, and pipe-structures in industrial plants. The prototype presented in this paper is able to traverse horizontal and even vertical pipe-structures. Such a robot concept can be used for, e.g., moving around in ventilation systems while cleaning them thoroughly from the inside
Read publication


Academic lecture





  • SINTEF Digital / Smart Sensors and Microsystems
  • SINTEF Digital / Mathematics and Cybernetics

Presented at



Verona, Italy


12.05.2010 - 14.05.2010


EFNMS vzw - European Federation of National Maintenance Societies



View this publication at Cristin